Illegal activities along Namibia/Botswana borderline irk Pohamba

15 Apr 2014 23:10pm
GOBABIS, 15 APR (NAMPA) – President Hifikepunye Pohamba has called on members of the public to work closely with law enforcement agencies to curb illegal activities taking place at undesignated openings along the Namibia/Botswana borderline.
Pohamba made this call on Monday during a one-day fact-finding visit on infrastructural development projects which were initiated last year in the Omaheke Region.
“They (criminals) are causing harm to the farmers in the area. When I heard this, it disturbed me. It is causing an inconvenience to our people. Leaders, please talk to your people in your respective constituencies so that they don’t go and steal cattle there. Report issues to the police so that those who will be found guilty can be dealt with,” he said.
Gobabis is situated about 125 kilometres west of the Buitepos Border post between Namibia and Botswana.
Pohamba’s outburst followed a complaint laid recently with this office about Namibians allegedly crossing the Namibia/Botswana border at undesignated points to bring in animals from Botswana to Gobabis without permission from the relevant authorities in that country.
Pohamba said bringing in cattle and cutting the border fence poses a risk to local farmers, as Botswana has a history of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) occurrences.
“Import control, including quarantine, is the first line of defence against this serious disease. This will have huge financial implications to farmers,” said Pohamba.
He said with the recent good rains, farmers who might want to sell their livestock would most likely be unable to do so because the animals would be quarantined for months due to these illegal activities along the border.
Nampa reported in March this year that restrictions on the movement of animals in and out of the Omaheke Region’s Otjombinde Constituency, imposed because of the illegal movement of cattle from Botswana, brought much suffering to cattle farmers who could not sell any of their livestock because of the quarantine.
The Otjombinde Constituency borders Botswana on its southern and eastern sides. These restrictions followed reports of suspected stolen cattle, which were allegedly driven into the constituency from Botswana at an undesignated border crossing.
Two suspects allegedly drove three cows into the country from Botswana and were arrested and remanded in custody after their first court appearance.